By Dory LeBlanc
Head coach Jon Cooper addressed the media foillowing Saturday's optional morning skate ahead of the Lightning's final game before the Olympic break.
For Tampa Bay, the two weeks off could not come at a better time.
"With the break, I think a lot of teams in this league are probably wishing this break never came," Cooper said," And there's a few teams that probably wished it started week ago and we are one of those teams."
Wednesday, the Lightning found out Steven Stamkos was not cleared to play by doctors after the results of a CT scan revealed his broken tibia, suffered on November 11th, was not fully healed. Lightning captain Martin St. Louis was named as Stamkos' replacement for Team Canada in the Sochi Winter Games.
Vatteri Filppula, chosen to represent Team Finland, will not join teammate Sami Salo in Russia after tests showed Filppula has a non-displaced fracture in his right ankle, which occurred during Thursday night's matchup against the Maple Leafs. The center will miss three weeks according to Cooper.
Netminder Ben Bishop also left the game against Toronto with an upper body injury. Originally listed as day-to-day, Tampa Bay called up rookie Kristers Gudlevskis from the Syracuse Crunch as an emergency option between the pipes.
"I'm not sure about the goalie situation," Cooper said. "We've gone from day-to-day to hour-to-hour, so that's where we're at. In all seriousness it will be a game-time decision."
To hear the entire post-skate press conference with Coach Cooper, click the player below: